Reply to “It’s Hard to Find a Good Lamp”
Complexity does not only lie in the complicated, nor only in confusion, nor only in the formal sense. It does, though, in the conceptual sense and so it does in simple formal shapes. A point unfolds in a line, a line in a square, a square in a cube. One is not better than the other; there’s no hierarchy in form. In their use, one is more practical than the other, but in meaning there’s no superiority in shape. Even so, one is more practical than the other only depending on the tools used for its manipulation. With scissors, a square is easier to cut than a circle, and punching a pencil through a paper will easily make a circle rather than a triangle.
All variations are the results of a basic idea; in their arrangement, basic forms become a grammar for the totality of the work. But the totality does not need to be written beforehand; the narrative in can be revealed with time. “Complicated” gives the illusion of meaning, of holding more meaning. Complicated and complex are not synonyms. Forms need to be appreciated in relationship to the walls, to the floor, not only read in their meaning.
There’s an example in an interview with Frank Stella where Judd talks about a box—a cardboard or a wooden box, it doesn’t matter. In a mental image, the box is full of things, in another, it just has some things. Both boxes are ordered, but in the full box, one wonders why and how the order is decided. In the other, one does not think about the order, but instead the relationship between the objects, the walls, and the floor.